Immersion today launched Touchware Gaming
—a software program that enables mice and game controllers that use Immersion’s force-feedback technology to work with any Windows-based game.
Touchware Gaming activates the haptic features of game controllers by getting clues from the game audio track—typically activating the feature in response to low-frequency sounds, such as explosions and weapons fire.
Though this technique does not match the haptic feedback to the game play as accurately as can be achieved by using DirectInput or other APIs that call the USB HID interface that force-feedback controllers implement, the company hopes that the experience is compelling enough to encourage more gamers to purchase force-feedback controllers, since they will now work with any game.
Gamers have control over what frequency sounds activate the controllers through an equalizer-like set of sliders. During a breif demo of the product, I found the experience to be quite good, with the mouse I was using responding to gun fire, recoil, and the explosions of the rounds, and occasionally sounds that perhaps should not have generated any haptic response (setting the volume of the game music to max, for instance, resulted in the mouse responding to portions of the bass track.)
A 30-day trial of Touchware Gaming is currently available as a download
, and will soon be available for purchase at an introductory price of $29.95 (full retail will be $39.95).